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Recognition - Reconciliation

A Prezi investigating why recognition in the Australian Constitution is important to Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people. Acknowledgement is given to http://www.recognise.org.au/ from which much of this material was taken.

Daniel Head

on 24 May 2013

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Transcript of Recognition - Reconciliation

As Australians, we all want to be recognised and treated as equals. The Constitution, the highest legal document in Australia, does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people as Australia’s First People and continues to have sections that permit discrimination on the basis of race. Changing the constitution It is extremely difficult to change the Constitution in Australia - there have been 44 tries and only 8 of them were successful! 1967 referendum 1967 – The referendum changed the constitution as follows: By deleting these words, it allowed the Commonwealth Government to make laws about all Australians - Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people weren't excluded.
However, can you see the problem with deleting these words?
Take another look before we look at the answer... By deleting these words it deleted any reference to the First People of Australia in the Constitution. As far as the Constitution is concerned, there is no such thing as Aboriginal people!
Also, by deleting these words, the Commonwealth Government was allowed to make special laws about Aboriginal people - even if these were racist! All they had to do was "decide it was necessary..." Why was 1967 a "success" story? The ‘Yes’ vote of 90.77% remains a record in the history of Australian referendums.
The 1967 Referendum is extremely significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For many people, it represented a turning point from official discrimination to the promise of full and equal citizenship. The overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote also signalled that non-Indigenous Australians were ready to embrace social and political reform, and expected the Federal Government to take the lead. In 1975 the Racial Discrimination Act (Cth) was enacted in to Australian law which outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin. However... it might not have been entirely positive... A story of faith Faith Bandler is well known for her active role in publicising the YES case for the Aboriginal question in the 1967 Referendum. “So we got the petition going and I started to take this petition around - calling on the government to... well, hold a referendum to give the Indigenous people equal rights. And I peddled this petition from '57 until '67 with my little group." Faith's example is relevant, because it shows that an ordinary, but committed Australian really can make a difference if they want to.

The question we need to ask ourselves, just like our grandparents asked themselves in 1967, is do WE want to be remembered as a generation who make a difference? What do you think Noel Pearson means by "positive recognition"?

Would positive recognition help to right past wrongs? Why recognition? Recognition is an important element of reconciliation between Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
Our Constitution was drafted and adopted over a century ago by a narrow cross-section of Australian society, whose thinking reflected the dominant historical, economic, social and political aspirations of the day. As a part of this: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not asked to help write the Constitution. The Constitution does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first Australian people and it does not recognise their existence in Australian society today. The Constitution does not acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories or laws. the possibility of discrimination on the basis of race in Australian laws continues to exist under the Constitution. Many constitutional law experts believe that two sections of our existing Constitution - section 51(xxvi) and section 25 - would need to be amended to eliminate this possibility of
discrimination. Section 25 – says the States can ban people from voting based on their race section 51(xxvi) – can be used to make laws that discriminate against people based on their race In December 2010 the Prime Minister appointed an Expert Panel to engage the Australian public on how the Constitution could be amended to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Throughout 2011, the Panel engaged with thousands of Australians through submissions, consultations and meetings, to hear the views of a wide cross-section of the Australian community.

In January 2012, the Panel handed its report Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution, to the Prime Minister, recommending the following changes to the Constitution So why are we looking at this? This week is Reconciliation Week - right across Australia

It's important that we understand about RECOGNITION because you just might have to vote on these changes in the next two years! in the meantime... Your task today is to answer ONE of the following questions on the hand you are given:
* How can we support RECONCILIATION and RECOGNITION?
* What is your prayer or hope for RECONCILIATION?
You are then to decorate your hand however you wish.
These hands will be presented at assembly on Wednesday to show the rest of Sacred Heart College that we care about and support recognition. We've also been looking at Social Justice - and so as Christians, we are called upon to take a stand for injustices we see in our society...
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